School Texting Programs

The fight against using cell phones in schools has been an issue since cell phones became popular. Schools had put restrictions on students bringing cell phones to school because of the distractions hey caused but too many parents complained about not being able to get a hold of their children. Parents look at their child’s phone as a safety tool, a tool that hey can use to get in touch with them at any time of day and be able to feel secure about their whereabouts and that they are ok. Text messaging has become extremely popular over the past few years and now parents are text messaging and realizing the convenience of it. They are able to text message their children and get an instant response from them instead of having to call, wait for the phone to ring and then have the uncertainty if they will pick up for not. By parents learning to text, it gives them constant communication with their sons or daughters as if they were sitting right next to them having a conversation.

Teens constantly have their phones in their hands, pockets, or purses/backpacks and always are text messaging. Teens are now texting upwards of 15,000 text messages per month. Text messaging a teenager is a foolproof way of getting them to respond quickly to your questions. When schools saw that text messaging was becoming so popular, teachers quickly learned to put restrictions on having students use them in schools. Text messaging caused as much distraction as passing notes in class, yet text messaging was harder to “catch”. So the schools put an overall ban on having the phones visible in schools. This resulted in schools having to put to much time and effort into confiscation these devices and parents getting mad about their expensive “safety” devices leaving their children’s hands. As much distraction as this was causing schools lifted the overall phone ban, and limited the use of the cell phones during lunch breaks and after or before school. This helped a lot because now students didn’t feel the need to “sneak” during class since they are able to use their phones before or during class.

In Savannah, Georgia, schools are starting to implement a safety text-a-tip program. With this program they can anonymously text tips to their school about bullies, threats, or any other concerns they have that could affect the wellbeing of the students. The police also have a similar anonymous program that has worked extremely well in bringing down the “bad guys.” Their text-a-tip program is completely anonymous, people can text tips consisting of names, license plate numbers, information they hear and this information gets sent to a separate, third party server and their information like their cell number and caller id information is wiped completely, and then the message is forwarded to the police, with no identifying information attached. This way people can feel safe about “snitching” on gangs or other criminals that they fear. In a world where technology is always evolving, it really benefits the schools to keep up with the times to keep their students safe.

Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Savannah School Ratings and Public Schools